I lost a good friend today. Not a two-legged or even a four-legged friend. This friend, a tall, sturdy blue spruce, had lent its quiet, comforting presence for as long as I've lived here. It greeted me as I came up the drive, provided a shady oasis on hot days. When summer comes, I move into the guest room because it's cooler. The tree was the last thing I would see before I went to sleep, standing like the mast of a ship against the stars. In the morning, it became Central Park for the birds.
Today, it was cut down to allow access to my septic tank, which it grew on top of. Yes, life is full of irony. It's still a shock to see the landscape without it, to look out the bedroom window and not find it standing guard. Of course, it's that way whenever we lose a loved one. The landscape changes. There's a hole where the loved one should be. And eventually, the scar in the ground is healed. But there's always a place in the heart that holds the memory.
I am a writer for children and a former editor for Highlights and Highlights High Five. I live in a little farmhouse almost 150 years old in an ancient apple orchard in northeastern Pennsylvania, two miles from the Delaware River. The view from my porch is rolling fields, pine-covered hills, and deer and turkey. Here is where I sit and write when summer comes, watch the hummingbirds and chipmunks, and listen to the rain.